MusiCares – a safety net for music people

The music industry can be a precarious business; while it generates some $50 billion worldwide each year many of its creative contributors have little financial security.

This means than when times are tough, musicians often have few resources to draw on to help them through. Thankfully, an organisation in the US provides a safety net of critical assistance for music people in times of need.

MusiCares offers a range of services and resources for musicians and was established 25 years ago by the Recording Academy, which runs the Grammy Awards. It counts everyone from Bruce Springsteen, Beyonce, Madonna and Metallica as supporters and regularly holds high profile fundraisers to generate funds.

Financial support

The “heart and soul” of MusiCares is the Emergency Financial Assistance Programme that provides critical funds for music people in dire straits. This programme offers financial assistance for medical expenses including doctor, dental and hospital bills, prescriptions, addiction recovery treatment, psychotherapy, treatment for HIV/AIDS, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and other critical illnesses, as well as basic living expenses such as rent and utilities.

This programme is available to music people who have experienced an unavoidable emergency. Eligibility consists of documented employment in the music industry for at least five years or credited contribution to six commercially released recordings or videos.

Medical help

An ever-growing number of music professionals in the US do not have basic medical coverage. MusiCares works closely with a dedicated group of health care professionals to provide life-changing services that some clients require, but simply cannot afford. A network of ENT, dental, medical, audiology and orthopaedic professionals generously donate their time and expertise to treat MusiCares’ referrals that are uninsured and lack the means to pay for services.

Addiction services

Inpatient treatment is the very first step toward long-term sobriety. But what happens when the person trying to recover leaves treatment and is immersed back into their daily lives? For musicians this step can be particularly difficult. Often they have erratic schedules, perform in clubs and venues that are redolent of their former lifestyles, and work alongside performers who are still using. This can make it very challenging to avoid the triggers and temptations that they took leave of in order to get clean.

To assist clients in recovery, MusiCares offers various types of free recovery support groups in Los Angeles, Nashville, Austin, New Orleans, New York, Seattle, and Fort Collins, Colorado.

How you can help?

The work of MusiCare is only possible thanks to the generosity of its donors. There are sponsorship and donation opportunities throughout the year that allow musicians to make a real difference in the lives of less fortunate members of the music family.


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Bronwyn Bidwell is an Australian journalist and editor based in London. She enjoys writing about music, books, history and popular culture.